Mind Palaver (A Conversation On Mental Health)


Elle grew up in Scotland in the distilleries of Speyside, and later on the Moray Firth coast.  She moved to Edinburgh to study medicine, and has been here ever since.  She still marvels at her city – it suits her moods….

Like many people with bipolar disorder Elle’s diagnosis came relatively late.  In retrospect all the signs were there from her teenage years.  But after working in Accident and Emergency for 18 months on a hypomanic wave of energy, she achieved her dream job as base doctor for the British Antarctic Survey, and worked on one of their research bases on the Antarctic continent for 18 months. The weight of mental ill health grew too great on her return, however, and she hasn’t been able to work since.

In 2017 Elle heard an interview with John on the BBC. Always keen on interesting chats with interesting people she reached out a friendly hand by leaving John a note after one of his Fringe shows in town.  They shook hands, grinned and started talking. ‘Let’s blog this!’ said John…… ‘I’m too nervous!’ said Elle….. ‘Get writing!’ said all of Elle’s friends.


John hails from the Lothians of Scotland (Bonnyrigg for those interested) Born in 1970 he is one of five siblings and son to Dorothy and John. In his life he’s worked as a tradesman, a social carer and finally, as you find him today, a comedian and writer. John first had acute mental health problems when he was 24. At the time he was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. After a few years, and a bit of a struggle, it became obvious John was suffering from Bipolar disorder. He is now correctly diagnosed with Bipolar 1.

In his comedy career John has taken his routines as far away as Australia. He has performed warm up for many of his comedy heroes, including Stewart Lee and Jerry Sadowitz. In more recent times he performed the word of mouth hit show Delusions at the Edinburgh Fringe. The show focused in particular on the five years John’s mental health was misdiagnosed. Many mental health service users attended the show and provided John with great support and feedback.

It was during a performance of Delusions that John became aware of the other writer of this blog Elle after she left him a friendly note.  From some initial correspondence it became clear that both Elle and John had much to say and many  tales to tell regarding their experiences with mental health issues. And so with that it was decided we should start this blog. You’ll find out a lot more about us as we get on with things, hopefully some bits will end up being helpful to others in similar situations.


27 thoughts on “Mind Palaver (A Conversation On Mental Health)”

    1. Good to have you along for the journey – thanks for your comment. ‘Sparking’ conversations is a great image – hopefully this blog can send out showers of sparks.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. it’s so good to listen to the words to give me an understanding of what it means to be bipolar. Elle and John, I’ll follow your blog with interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like everyone else I look forward to seeing the blog as it grows. John’s shows are great as they are not only funny but shine a light on the often ignored or misunderstood world of mental illness.
    Wishing you both great mental health 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, hope you are doing well.

    I invite you to read a post of mine where I am gathering warriors facing mental health challenges 1st hand to educate people, to raise awareness and acceptance.

    I need help from you in fighting stigma.

    Here is the link to post..

    Your participation can make a huge difference in life of someone.

    Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed John’s show last night – ‘Delusions’. Sending you both all my love and utter respect as a result. Just out of interest re my own being, I googled ‘gender dysphoria’ today – and found that on 20 Jun 2018, The World Health Organisation previously considered ‘gender dysphoria’ to be a mental illness . . . but now it’s changed this to a ‘sexual health condition’. I beg to differ. Are they out of their tiny minds! Forgive the pun. Surely it has more to do with the mind than the body, the former often – but not always – leading to altering the latter to align both in the process. Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

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